By no means am I twitter famous. I have about 44 followers and no one ever likes my tweets. But last night, an internal war was waging and I decided to tweet it. It got four favorites and two retweets (shares). That’s pretty impressive. Plus, that means I keep getting notifications of it randomly and I’ve really liked having the reminder of the struggle. I actually mean that- I DO like it!
Here’s the tweet:
Me (Brain): stop wanting what we can’t have! I’m SO tired of disappointment
Heart: what if it works this time?
Me: Miracles happen, tell me more…
Sometimes I hate hope. For most of my life, hope only meant disappointment. The wishes and dreams that meant the most to me never came true and I was just crushed one more time. So, I quit hoping. I quit dreaming. I quit caring. I’m human and there will always be a part of me that wants something better or different, but I quit actually thinking anything could ever happen. I quit trying for anything else than what was already there. I was vividly aware of my fear of hoping and I avoided it at all costs.
Until recently, that is. When the shackles of depression loosened and life seemed possible again, when the chronic pain lessened and the good days increased; I realized I was being given a gift that I hadn’t even dared to hope for. I had prayed for it, once upon a time, but it had been a long time since I’d bothered. It didn’t seem to be in God’s plan for me to be a functioning human being ever again, so why ask for anything just to be told yet another no? I realized that something good had happened for me and I found myself hoping it would last and maybe more would come. However, after two weeks, it was gone. That was at the beginning of the darkest year that I’ve mentioned before. I was dealing with my sexuality and faith, trying to figure out life and here was more pain and darkness than I’d ever known before immediately after getting a tiny fortnight-long glimpse of freedom. I think that glimpse may have made the following year worse. I was also maybe more than a little resentful that I’d had two good weeks just for them to be gone again. But, as I also mentioned before, at the end of that year, things improved and for longer than two weeks. I had a taste of freedom before my hardest battle, and then an even greater freedom after. I just realized that my resentment has turned into gratefulness because I’m pretty sure God knew what He was doing and had a very good reason for giving it, taking it away, and then giving it again. I recognize that it could be gone again someday, and value it more every day that I have it. At least for now, life is in my grasp. Thus began my journey of daring to hope.
It is something that I had to be constantly aware of for a long time. I had to choose to hope that something would happen. I had started losing weight and found myself wondering if it would continue. Then I found myself choosing to hope that it would. It was a process that I had to take conscious steps towards. I was writing again and found myself thinking I could pursue the writing career I’d always felt was inside me somewhere. Then I knew I had to choose to hope for it. Each time I noticed something in my life that I wanted, I had to very nearly convince myself that it was worth hoping for, even if it meant disappointment later. I’ve had some rocky and predominantly negative internal dialogue over the years, but this time, I was the coach verbally beating myself into shape for something better instead of just tearing myself down. Some days, when I knew I didn’t have it in me to hope, I could count on my best friend to hope for me, to believe in me when I wasn’t strong enough or brave enough. And then, soon enough, I could believe again.
I came across a meme a few weeks ago that said: “Make three outlandish wishes right now.” At first I scrolled past it. Within seconds, I scrolled back, thought “challenge accepted!” and I made my three wishes. I wrote them down and found myself terrified of hoping again. These were big, really big, wishes. I mean, if it says outlandish, that’s the point, right? Something as huge as any one of these couldn’t possibly happen, right? Well, no matter how many times I doubt that they will happen, no matter how many times I fear the changes in life that they would entail should they come true, at the core of my soul, those wishes have remained the same. I’ve found that hoping for them has been a test of how far I’ve come. I’m having fewer internal battles about how scary hope is because of the chance of disappointment and more time just being happy that I want something in life again. Plus I’m thrilled that I finally know myself well enough to know what I want!
Last night was more of a battle. Yet to see myself recognize the thought pattern and be able to steer myself in the right direction of daring to hope in spite of what could go wrong, that’s progress. Having something to strive for, having a direction to walk towards in life, those keep us from sitting still. And I know without a doubt that sitting still is the only place where my hopes, dreams, and wishes are absolutely not possible. So, even when my brain forgets the difference between possible and probable, my heart doesn’t… and that gives me hope.